Get to Know: David A. Land
is a true master of the form. He can walk into any assignment, no matter how far afield or how complex, and walk out with beautiful light-filled photos. From the smallest magazine to the largest corporate clients, David works in South Africa, Haiti, Des Moines, South Carolina, Texas, India, Paris, Morocco, I can't even name all the places he goes to take pictures. And the thing is, across this whole range of different assignments, he always comes back with pictures of people just beaming. So friendly and warm and how people really are when you meet them with a good heart and great eye. David has those gifts and it is always a joy to share.
Do you remember your first big shoot on your own? Tell me a little about how you were feeling...
My first big shoot on my own was a feature story for Conde Nast Traveler in Toronto. It was a 6 day shoot and there was a lot to cover. I remember feeling slightly overwhelmed trying to figure out exactly how I was going to get to everything on our list. I made and revised multiple schedules, changing things on the fly as the weather dictated, appointments had to move, we got stuck in traffic, got lost, got distracted. The thing I remeber most from that trip is that some of my favorite photographs, and the editors too, were things that were not on our list, things that we stumbled upon or into. I always try to remember, on every shoot, to keep my eyes open for that unexpected moment; to be open to something that's not on the list.
What is your idea of a dream vacation? And is there a camera involved?
My idea of a dream vacation definitely involves the water. I grew up in a beach town, so being by the sea has always made me feel at home, relaxed. We used to go on more "cultural" vacations - places where we could go to museums, visit historical sites, learn something new, places where I would shoot for myself - but now with a 3 year old, we just enjoy being out of the city with each other, on a more relaxed pace, hopefully splashing in the water. Of course, the camera is still there, to capture the antics of our little guy.
If you could photograph any one object, person or event - what would it be? and what would be your gear setup?
A few years ago, my husband and I traveled to Shekawati in Rajasthan. We had a couple of days at the end of a long trip and we decided that we really wanted to see the painted houses that the area is know for. Between 1750 and 1930 the wealthy Marwaris had the interiors and exteriors of their homes painted with portraits of the family members and images from Hindu mythology as a sign of their wealth. Some of the later frescoes show the influence of the British - scenes with motor cars and modern technology. We saw some that were in pristine condition and some that were crumbling and barely visible due to the sun and age.
I would love to go back and do a book project on the frescoes and portraits of the descendants of the Marwaris. My ideal gear setup would be just me and my trusty, old Mamiya RZ 67.